PTC opener John on Welcome to our round-up of the European Parliament's plenary session here in Strasbourg...
The week saw the confirmation of the new European Commission headed by its President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Also much discussed here and in headlines across the globe: the fight against the often deadly Ebola virus. Now the debate is over what measures the European parliament and European Union can take to maximise protection for its citizens.
We begin our coverage though with the 60 percent plus vote to confirm the new Juncker Commission, half of which is made up of EPP Group members.
Archive, plenary footage, Juncker, etc.,
John off It´s official. There´s a new Commission in town. After a grueling season of nomination hearings and a few last-minute reshuffles, the 27-member cabinet of Jean-Claude Juncker has been approved by the European Parliament.
And not a moment too soon: there are a number of burning topics requiring the Commission´s attention when it starts its work on November 1st.
Using the analogy of international credit ratings, Juncker said the new, far more politically agile Commission would have to pay better attention to the social needs of its citizens in future.
Statement to Parliament Jean-Claude Juncker, President European Commission
There´s a debate surrounding the triple A rating. Everyone loves triple A.
I would like the European Union to rediscover and adopt a different kind of triple A.
I would like Europe to be a social triple A. The social triple A is as important as the economic and financial triple A. Il y a tout un débat au tour du triple A, tout le monde aime le triple A.
Je voudrais que l´union européenne retrouve et se dote d'un autre triple A.
Moi je voudrais que l´Europe est le triple A social. Le triple A social est aussi important que le triple A économique.
EP Statement pix John off Juncker said 300-billion-euros earmarked for an investment package aimed at creating jobs and boosting growth was near and dear to his heart.
But, he said, it would not be financed by generating new debt but rather in concert with the private sector, which also bore responsibility for putting people back to work.
EP Statement Jean-Claude Juncker, President European Commission The private sector must realise that they also have their role to play. Not only member states are responsible for fighting unemployment. Business bears its own responsibility as well.
I call on European business leaders to do all they can to bring about an improvement on the job market through a flow of new investment which we urgently need to move forward. Die Wirtschaft muss wissen, dass auch sie eine Aufgabe in der Gesellschaft zu erfüllen hat. Nicht nur Staaten sind zuständig, Arbeitslosigkeit zu bekämpfen.
Die Wirtschaft hat eine originäre, eigene Verantwortung und ich appelliere an die europäischen Wirtschaftslenker, das ihre zu tun, damit sich die Lage auf den europäischen Arbeitsmärkten verbessert und damit ein Investitionsfluss kommt, den wir dringend benötigen, um von der Stelle zu kommen.
John off EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber said he was eager to get started with the ambitious workload in the new legislative period.
EP Statement EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber The issues involved are indeed not easy. It´s about a stable Europe, where we have to follow the rules. It´s about growth.
And in the next five years it´s about the question what Europe is going to do after the years of looking inward at our own problems, now turning our gaze outwards so we can take on the tasks of our time. Die Themen sind wahrlich nicht einfach. Es geht um ein stabiles Europa, wo wir die Regeln einhalten müssen. Es geht um Wachstum.
Und es geht in den nächsten fünf Jahren auch um die Frage, was Europa nach den Jahren des inneren Blicks auf unsere eigenen Probleme wieder den Blick nach aussen wendet, um sich um die Aufgaben unserer Zeit zu kümmern.
PTC John on It´s very much on everyone´s minds these days. Ebola-- a disease which knows no borders. How to contain it, treat it, eventually how to cure it?
Here in Strasbourg lawmakers agree more decisively needs to be done to prevent the latest outbreak of Ebola in West Africa from spreading to Europe.
John off Time is of the essence. Although a handful of patients with Ebola have been successfully treated in European clinics, more new cases are expected to land on Europe´s shores in coming weeks and months.
Kristalina Georgieva, outgoing EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said with 10,000 cases a week predicted by December, fast work is needed if West African infrastructure is to be spared complete collapse and a global crisis averted.
Soundbite Kristalina Georgieva, EU outgoing Commissioner, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response
The longer the epidemic lasts not only more people die, but it is hugely destructive for the economies of the affected countries. The World Bank predicts that it would cost seven and a half billion losses this year and up to 25 billion in total, basically wiping out the economies of the countries in 2015.
John off Meanwhile outgoing EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg said a network of volunteer clinicians with experience in treating Ebola patients would be established for expected future cases in the EU. And he said finding candidate vaccines would also receive a 25 million Euro boost from the EUs innovation budget.
Statement in plenary Tonio Borg, outgoing EU Health Commissioner
As we know there are already vaccines being also financed by the European Commission but we need to accelerate the pace of this approval of the vaccines for human consumption.
archive John EPP Group member Peter Liese, a trained doctor himself who now is coordinator on the Public Health Committee, said he was shocked at the relatively low amount donated worldwide to fight Ebola so far.
He also sent a clear message of hope to those doctors and nurses going down to help that if they get sick they will be airlifted back to the EU for treatment.
Member, Public Health Committee
I heard that people say we should stop any people that are affected by Ebola to come to Europe. But we have the specialised clinic departments and we can better cure for example doctors or nurses that infected themselves. And this is of crucial importance because who will go to such a crisis region when he doesn´t know that someone will take care of him when he´s infected?
plenary footage John off Meanwhile Davor Stier, EPP Group spokesperson on the Development committee, said its Ebola ´that needs to be isolated, but not West Africa.
Interview Davor Stier,
EPP member Development Committee
No preventative measures will be enough if we don´t contain the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa. (cutaway) The focus should be in helping Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea to contain this Ebola crisis and that´s the best way to keep safe our citizens in Europe.
That´s all from Strasbourg. See you again soon in Brussels.
And find out more about the largest political force in Parliament and the Commission by going to eppgroup.eu. Thanks for looking in.
Headline European Parliament approves new Commission, stronger EU measures on Ebola prevention
Description European Parliament 60% plus vote clears Juncker Commission to start November 1; EP also debates new aid and measures to curb Ebola at source
Tags Jean-Claude Juncker, Manfred Weber, Peter Liese, Davor Stier, Kristalina Georgieva, Tonio Borg, European Commission, Ebola response, European Parliament, EPP Group, Strasbourg.